WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), a member of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works (EPW), today introduced Jimmy Lyons, Director of the Alabama State Port Authority, as a witness during a subcommittee hearing. Senator Shelby discussed Mr. Lyons’ work at the Port of Mobile and its impact on Alabama and the entire Gulf Coast region.
Senator Shelby questioned Mr. Lyons and Lieutenant General Todd Semonite, Chief of Engineers and Commanding General of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, about the modernization of the Panama Canal and the impact it is having on our nation’s ports, particularly the Gulf Coast ports. Gen. Semonite touched on how important port modernization is, and how it could impact trade and economic development.
Mr. Lyons stated that the Port of Mobile is currently 400-feet wide and hosts ships that are up to 160-feet wide. He went on to point out that depending on the number of large ships coming into the Port of Mobile, the port is often restricted to one-way traffic and ships are having to wait which is affecting the cost-structure of these ships.
The Port of Mobile became a container port in 2008 as a result of manufacturing changes in the southeast. Lyons said that “retail distribution is beginning to realize that they cannot be totally reliant upon the west coast and east coast to efficiently move at all times, so they are looking for alternate gateways … we have the bigger ships coming in and it is important.”
Senator Shelby’s comments came during a Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee hearing titled “Water Resources: The Role of the Public and Private Sectors.”
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